Fire can be an incredibly useful tool. We cook our food with fire, warm our homes, light candles, roast marshmallows, shape metals, and create new energy – all with fire. However, using fire as a tool requires extreme awareness of safety, because it can be incredibly dangerous and destructive. Even a single spark in a dry forest can start a wildfire that engulfs hundreds of thousands of acres. Although lightning strikes can cause wildfires, 85% of all wildfires in the U.S. are caused by humans: cigarettes, malfunctioning electrical equipment, trash burning, and poorly extinguished campfires are just some ways that humans introduce sparks into their environment. Depending on the weather, these small sparks can wipe out entire forests and cities within days, destroying everything in their path and polluting the air with smoke thick enough to be seen from space.
Learn more about the power and science behind wildfires with this collection of resources.